The date is now 10th March 2037 and the girls are going to graduate. A lot of time has passed since the school festival and Mikan notes that not a lot has changed since then. Thanks to Kyouko, their uniform and everything else remained very much the same except the school administration being combined. Each of the girls have their plans for after graduation – Momo is joining a digital journalist specialist school, Mucchi is joining a professional team, Mei is going to college, and Manabi is going to be a freeter. Though the biggest surprise is when Mikan says she is going to America.
Elsewhere Mikan and Manabi are watching the sakura trees, Mikan shows Manabi her passport and tells her how she wants to see how well she does in an unfamiliar place and be able to search for excitement again. Mikan feels that Seiou hasn’t changed one bit, but she has changed a little bit. When the graduation ceremony is over, the girls head to the rooftop for a final meeting to reflect their time in the student council. Manabi feels that she caused everyone trouble and apologises for it, but everyone is ok since they had so much fun. Mikan feels that she wasn’t able to achieve anything on her own and ended up following everyone else, which causes her to cry. She doesn’t want it to end and wants to stay with everyone. Manabi tells her that they will always be together and that this isn’t the end, it’s a beginning. So Mikan leaves town with these words in mind and she vows that she will find that excitement and return one day.
On the day of Mikan’s flight, the four girls drive to the airport and manage to catch Mikan just before entering the departure gate. Although out of breathe from running through the terminal, they line up and hold out their fists to her. Mikan now realises that this is not the end, but only the beginning. As she turns around, she realises that it is the beginning of their stories.
Everyone follows their own path for the next 1 year and 5 months. It is now summer and Mikan returns to Japan, and she finds everyone has been waiting for her. In their time together, they use a special spray that Momo made which disappears in one night, and cover the school it graffiti with a message “A Happy Life”.
This was definitely a wonderful episode and a very befitting ending to such a wonderful and fun series. Rather than focusing on the girls just graduating, the focus was on everyone’s future but also their reflections of the past few years they spent in high school together. Not many anime series cover both topics very well but in this series it does well since the theme of the show is about their relationships as friends.
Mikan’s decision to goto America was rather a surprise and feels more grander than the other girls. Although she has a lot of courage to make such a decision but it was a smart decision. I get the feeling that if she stayed in Japan she would’ve ended up following one of the girls rather than finding her own path. However I’m pretty sure we can all understand Mikan on how she wants to continue school a little longer and stay with everyone. Heck for me during high school, some of my friends were morons, but they were still my friends. Each person has their own paths to walk on and I’m glad Mikan finally understands the meaning behind that.
The scene of Mikan on the train I feel is a nice comparison to when Manabi was on the train alone at the start of the series. Manabi sure has traveled to a lot of places and experiencing many exciting things, but now it’s Mikan’s turn to do exactly that, but if she never met Manabi, she wouldn’t be doing such a thing. With the ending credits we see that everyone is following their paths and I thought was nice to see (and something you don’t see often in other school type animes), but I think the reunion after a year and half was the best. Using the OP sequence it goes to show despite everyone living their separate lives, nothing really has changed between them and they are all still friends. Plus hearing everyone singing the song was the icing on the cake.
Overall it was an enjoyable episode covering about their future and their friendship which is something all of us can relate to at one point in our lifetime.
Like a lot of people, I started watching this with the premise of cute loli looking characters in a school theme anime. But as the series progressed onwards it became more than just a show with cute characters. With the introduction of Manabi, the dull boring life of Seiou Academy become much more interesting with much of the excitement coming from Manabi herself. Not exactly the really funny type of series, but it was fun to watch and there were definitely the funny moments. Though the development of the characters and the building of their friendship is what made this a much more enjoyable watch. With the main event being the school festival, the build up towards it and the experiences they had in their everyday lives is what really mattered.
Although the show is called Manabi Straight, I feel that Mikan is more the main character in this series. Although Manabi is the central figure in the changes of the school, but with such an eccentric character like Manabi, you really can’t get much character development out of her. By far Mikan is the one who has had the most development over the series especially in episode 5 and 6. Also her narration for the series feels as if it’s from her perspective and that she is the one guiding the story. Although Mikan started off as the weakest character, but in the end she shows us that she hasn’t changed a little. In fact she is the one who has changed the most.
Of course Mei and Mucchi also had some character development in the series but Momo I feel is still the only one left out. She is my favourite character, but she didn’t get as much screen time as I was hoping for. Even though she didn’t end up joining the student council, in the end that doesn’t matter. What matters is that she is a part of the circle of friends and that she has created her bonds. Although it was definitely a bit of a surprise to find out she was from a rich family.
Overall I found the series to be enjoyable, with colourful and well drawn animation, a pleasant soundtrack, and a great selection of seiyuu’s, uftotable have produced something we thought was generic into something that gives a deep meaning to friendship. The last ufotable series I enjoyed was Futakoi Alternative and it has been a while since then. Coyote Ragtime Show was just utter failure. This is a series I would recommend someone to watch, though whether I would watch it again depends on my mood. Also I look forward to the 13th episode that comes out on the 7th DVD volume as well as the Manabi figure that is going to be released by Good Smile Company next month.